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Masters of Lindy and Tap: Tales from the People Who Lived Dance History

Guy Nelson
08/14/2008 at 9:00 a.m.

Some people dance their way through life. Today we offer a rare opportunity to hear the personal stories of legends of the Lindy Hop and Tap era. Dawn Hampton began performing at age three, Lennart Westerlund was a primary dancer with the Rhythm Hot Shots in the 90s, and Jeni LeGon danced on screen with Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. We'll also explore how the tradition of dance and music goes on into the future. Do you dance? How does the past inform modern dancing?

Related Event

Century Ballroom in Seattle is hosting a number of events and workshops with the Masters of Lindy Hop and Tap Thursday, August 14 through Sunday, August 17. Find out the details at


Dawn Hampton began performing at the age of three. Her father, Clark Deacon Hampton, Sr. had a family band and vaudeville act that was part of a traveling carnival. In 1950, the family band achieved its dream of performing at Carnegie Hall. By the mid–1950s, Dawn and her sisters began performing as The Hampton Sisters. Hampton's full bio

Jeni LeGon is one of the first African American women to make a career as a tap–dancing soloist. She is a dancer, actress and dance instructor who received her first formal training at Mary Bruce's School of Dance in New York. She was inducted into the Tap Dance Hall of Fame in 2002. LeGon's full bio.

Lennart Westerlund began dancing Swedish style jitterbug in 1980. He studied with the late Savoy Ballroom dancer, Albert Minns, and later formed the Swedish swing dance Company, the Rhythm Hot Shots, which later became the Harlem Hot Shots. Westerlund's full bio.

Frankie Manning is credited with creating the first air step and first ensemble Lindy Hop routine. Growing up in Harlem, Frankie danced with a dedicated group of people that inspired the dancing and music of the 1930s and 40s. Manning's full bio.

Hallie Kuperman is the owner Century Ballroom.

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